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Weekend Newscast 09-17-2011

News, Podcasts

September 17th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Chris Parks

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Weekend festival in western Iowa celebrates aronia berry

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A festival dedicated to a type of berry many Americans haven’t heard of is taking place this weekend in western Iowa. Saw Mill Hollow in Missouri Valley is believed to have the largest aronia berry crop in the country. Andrew Pittz says his father, Vaughn, first heard about aronia berries being used in a juice drink.  “We looked into it and it was a native North American plant that no one was growing,” Pittz said. “So, we took it upon ourselves to plant the first 207 cultivated aronia berry plants in the United States.” That was 1995. Today, the Pittz family manages 25 acres of aronia berries. The dark colored berry has long been popular in Russia and Poland. Pittz says sales are picking up in the U.S. among those searching for healthier food products.

He notes studies have shown the aronia berry contains two to four times the antioxidants of a blueberry. “And the blueberry is kind of the go to super fruit,” Pittz said. Aronia berries have a unique tart taste, lacking the sweetness of grapes and blueberries. Pittz admits aronia berries probably aren’t best in the raw.  “It might not be as good – eating it fresh – as a grape, blueberry or raspberry. But, because of its profile, it makes a great wine and it bakes really well. There are all kinds of things you can do with it,” Pittz said. The 4th Annual North American Aronia Berry Festival is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both today (Saturday) and Sunday.

learn more about the event at: www.sawmillhollow.com.

(Radio Iowa)

Man Hits Officer with Vehicle in Council Bluffs

News

September 17th, 2011 by Chris Parks

Council Bluffs Police were investigating a theft in progress at the Lake Manawa Wal-Mart location when the officer on scene made contact with a man named John Chestnut on Friday.  Chestnut fled the scene striking the Officer with his motor vehicle in the process.  Officers then engaged in a short chase that ended with an intervention technique and Chestnut was taken into custody.  He was charged with Attempted Murder, Aggravated Theft, and three counts of Child Endangerment.  The Officer was treated and released from a local hospital.  No further details are currently available and the incident is still under investigation.

Union Pacific plans to add new railroad track from NE to IA

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) — The chairman of Union Pacific says the railroad has begun a multi-year effort to double-track the route between Fremont, Neb., and Missouri Valley, Iowa, in order to move trains through the area more quickly. Union Pacific chairman Jim Young outlined the $300 million to $400 million project. Young noted there is a lot of single track in that stretch as well as two bridges, which cross the Elkhorn and Missouri rivers. Young says the railroad wants to reduce bottlenecks and prevent trains from waiting in the communities. Young, who spoke with Fremont business leaders on Thursday aboard a train car, says Union Pacific plans to spend $3.3 billion on capital projects throughout its system in the next year and hire 1,300 new employees.

Gov. Rick Perry visits Atlantic

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Texas Governor Rick Perry was in Atlantic this (Friday) afternoon, speaking to a group of employees at the local Coca-Cola Bottling Plant. The Republican Presidential Candidate spoke about President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul plan, often referred to as “Obamacare,” his GOP rival Mitt Romney, Social Security, and the stay of execution for a man accused of murder in his state. Perry said

TX Governor Rick Perry

foremost on the minds of those he’s spoken with, is the creation of jobs. He says Mitt Romney’s “Romneycare” health plan is much like President Obama’s plan, and it will mean the loss of jobs if it’s not repealed. He says Romney’s plan cost his state 18,000 jobs and cost $8-billion dollars to implement. Perry said Obamacare would kill many more jobs and cost the taxpayers. He says Romney has to answer for his failed policy, and Obama will as well. Perry said he would make a promise to repeal Obamacare if he’s elected to office.

On the topic of Social Security, Perry said the program will be in-place for those on the program and those who have just entered into it. But he said the same thing will not be the case for those couples just starting out, who plan to have a family. He says they’ll be paying into a program that won’t be available. That’s why other options should be available. He says said he spoke with Wisconsin Republican Representative Paul Ryan about the issue, and praised him for admitting Social Security — which Perry called a “Ponzi” scheme — is broken, and for offering an alternative to Obama’s plan. He says young American’s shouldn’t be mislead into thinking Social Security will be around by the time they are ready to retire.

 

Guthrie County REC receives $6.5-million loan

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Thursday, announced the Guthrie County Rural Electric Cooperative (REC) Association has been approved for a $6.5-million loan through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. The funding will build 2 miles of line, improve 399 miles of existing line and make $20,000 in Smart Grid investments to improve rural infrastructure.

Harkin says “Each dollar invested in rural development goes toward revitalizing communities and improving Iowa’s rural connectivity. These improvements help people all while creating jobs.”

Open House slated for newly renovated Fontanelle Library

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An Open House will take place this weekend for the recently renovated and expanded library, in Fontanelle. The project was completed thanks in-part, to grant funds from USDA Rural Development, which were awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Kathy Pfiffner, a representative with USDA Rural Development will be on-hand for the event, which begins at 2-p.m., Sunday.

Part of the newly completed renovation of the Fontanelle Library at 303 Washington Street, includes an additional 23-hundred square feet of space for the library’s growing collections, and use of the facility by an increasing number of young adults and elementary-age persons. The building also now has improved electrical and mechanical systems, to increase energy efficiency, and is fully handicap accessible.

The last time the Fontanelle Library received an expansion and renovation treatment, was more than 30-years ago.

DOT preps to rebuild SW Iowa interstates destroyed by flooding

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa transportation officials want to get traffic moving again on Interstates 29 and 680 in the southwest corner of the state. Wide sections of the road were reduced to rubble in this summer’s Missouri River flooding. Bob Younie, a maintenance engineer at the Iowa Department of Transportation, says he’d like to see both highways reopen within a couple of months. Younie says, “We’re going to do everything we can, everything that’s reasonable within our power, to make sure that happens and I’d like to think we could make that happen this year but that’s not a promise.” Iowa D-O-T spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher says I-680 is being given a priority due to the amount of damage. “This will be a very accelerated plan,” Gray-Fisher says. “The goal is to try to get the roadway open as quickly as possible. That may even be yet this year.” She says crews will reconstruct the road using the original blueprints and no changes will be made. Gray-Fisher says, “It will be as built and that means contractors will get a hold of the original contract design and will rebuild it the same way.” She says this isn’t going to be an easy task as the damaged concrete will have to be removed and then they’ll start from scratch. “It’s very aggressive in the fact that the roadway is totally destroyed and is going to have to be completely rebuilt,” Gray-Fisher says.

An emergency bid letting is set for September 21st. Also, the last segment of pavement on Interstate-29 north of Council Bluffs emerged from the flood water on Tuesday. Crews continue to remove debris from I-29 and now will be able to get a good look at repairs that need to be made. Gray-Fisher says while repairs are needed, I-29 withstood the flood fairly well.

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 09-16-2011

News, Podcasts

September 16th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Anita Elementary School receives “Blue Ribbon” Award

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The U.S. Department of Education has named 305 schools as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps. Included among them is the Anita Elementary School, now known as the CAM North Elementary School. Principal Larry Hunt told KJAN News they received word of the award at around 9-a.m., Thursday. He says “It’s a nice honor. It’s a real group honor. It takes a large number of people to make something like this happen, with the community, with the teachers that we have now and in the past, the students, the parents…it’s an honor that should be bestowed on everybody that we have.”

Only seven Iowa schools, including four elementary schools, were named 2011 Blue Ribbon Schools. Hunt, who has served in the role of Principal at the school for the past two-years, says the CAM North Elementary school was nominated last year, and had also received the award in 2010. The Department will honor the entire 256 public and 49 private schools with their National Blue Ribbon School awards at a conference and awards ceremony November 14th and15th, in Washington, D.C.  Hunt says he will travel to Washington to receive the award, along with Superintendent Steve Pelzer, Reading Instructor Kay Stork, and their spouses. He says they will receive a plaque and a flag at the ceremony in November.

Hunt say’s they are excited about the trip. The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received the coveted award. Larry Hunt modestly says he’s only a “Very small part,” of the reason the school received the award. He says much of it can be attributed to the great teachers, faculty and students, for all the hard work they’ve done.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria having to deal with performances on state assessment tests or national tests of achievement. The Anita Elementary/CAM North Elementary was chosen based on achievement scores that met or exceeded both of the criteria. CAM Superintendent Steve Pelzer says the District administration and board members would like to commend all of the former and current staff, students, parents and community for their efforts that enabled the Anita Elementary/CAM North Elementary to qualify as a No Child Left Behind “Blue Ribbon School”.

A complete list of the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools can be found at www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.